LA’s Pale Spring is the husband and wife duo of Emily and Drew Scott, who make sultry pop / R&B with a shadowy electronic atmosphere. This week they’re re-releasing two albums, CYGNUS and DUSK, on vinyl through American Dreams Records. In celebration, they answer our questions and share a fun, fiery mix featuring some of their own remixes and closest collaborators.
Emily Harper Scott
Em – I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and lived there for 25 years before moving to LA.
Drew – I grew up in Maryland and South Jersey.
Current city / place of residence:
Both – Los Angeles, CA
Home away from home:
Em – Hard to say with COVID, but anywhere where I can camp and be in nature. We camp in our pickup truck, it’s called BIG REM (we named it after our dog).
Drew – Camping in Utah.
Last great book you read:
Em – The Round House by Louise Erdrich.
Drew – There There by Tommy Orange.
What instrument / hardware do you use most:
Em – microphone, TC Helicon Voice Live Play pedal, Pro Tools, Native Instruments Komplete MIDI Controller, lately I have been using my phone for field recordings.
Drew – ProTools, Maschine, SP404, Tascam 4 track recorder, Native Instruments Komplete MIDI Controller, I also use my phone for field recordings.
The Story of Pale Spring – What were you doing musically before this collaboration started? How did the two of you meet, and start making music together?
Em – I actually grew up playing classical piano and didn’t understand how I could make my own music, since I grew up playing a very solitary instrument and playing only music that had been composed by other people. I had no knowledge of DAWs or MIDI or any of that. When I met Drew, he came from a totally different background of making his own beats without technical knowledge of music theory, and was incredibly proficient in home audio engineering and music editing. We started making music together pretty much as soon as we started hanging out romantically. It was a very organic collaboration that came out of curiosity about each other’s vastly different musical backgrounds. Also, yes, very funny small-town story that actually made it into our wedding vows: we played the same show at the Bellfoundry in 2012 and didn’t even realize it until maybe three or four years later.
Drew – Before Pale Spring I was involved in a few different projects as a producer and solo artist. My start in music was in my late teens in South Jersey and Baltimore, making beats for local rappers and my early work was mostly in the indie rap world. Once I moved to Baltimore I started to focus more on production and was really inspired and influenced by the music scene there to branch out and make more dark pop/electronic stuff. Pale Spring started as more of Em’s solo project that I kind of engineered/mixed while she handled most of the production, once we started Cygnus it became more of a duo, and Em wanted more of my input on the production side. It’s still very much Em’s project, I just try to use my instincts as a producer to mesh the ideas together.
Infinity Knives pops up a few times on the mix, can you tell us about them?
Tariq is one of our best friends from back home in Baltimore. He has access to/creates digital instruments that we don’t have, so whenever we’re stuck or we need something bold that we can’t do, he adds it on his end. I sing backups on some of his work and he samples our old beats or things in our archive of unreleased stuff for his work sometimes. There’s an endless musical trade between all of us. Hopefully, we’ll all get to collaborate until we’re old and can’t hear anymore.
Drew – We’ve been sharing demo’s with each other for years now, collaborating and bouncing ideas, and we have a bunch of unreleased stuff (I put something on the mix). Whenever we feel like something’s missing we just let him do his thing and it’s always incredible. He can play anything and his arrangements are devastating. I miss that fool.
Also on the mix there are remixes of two of your songs off of DUSK, by They Hate Change and Eu-IV. Those are pretty recent right?
Em. -Yes! Eu-IV is a producer from Baltimore who makes incredible beats and has been at it for a long time. I always wanted to hear that song reimagined by someone who has been writing R&B for a while. We met They Hate Change online and all became fans of one another’s music. I had a vocal feature on their most recent EP 666 Central Ave in 2020, and then they did this remix for us. There will hopefully be more collabs with them in the future.
Drew you then returned the favor to They Hate Change, remixing their track “Ozone,” as well as one of Charli XCX’s recent bangers, “Claws” (I love that song). Is remixing something you do a lot of?
Drew – I love remixing, i’m lucky enough to have been asked to do a ton of them over the years across all genres, from shoegaze to pop. To me it’s a fun break from how serious working on an album can be and kind of an exercise to push me out of my comfort zone. I put out a remix album of early 2000’s rap stuff on Bandcamp a couple years ago, at some point I should compile all the remixes i’ve done in one place.
And you close it out with an MF Doom production, “Lemongrass.” Any particular reason you picked this one? We’ve lost far too many great artists in the last year.
Drew – oh man DOOM is a huge influence on me. I initially learned how to make music through sampling, he was one of the best in that regard. He was so weird and down to earth at the same time. I was revisiting some of his interviews when he passed and the way he created these worlds to explore and his enigmatic presence in the music industry will forever be mind blowing. Those instrumental albums especially were the soundtrack to my days for many years working in kitchens. I knew I wanted to close the mix out with some DOOM, “Lemongrass” felt so melancholic and appropriate.
Your last two albums, CYGNUS and DUSK, originally came out on Doom Trip Records, and have been rereleased by American Dreams records. Is this a second vinyl pressing? Anything you’d like to say about working with those two labels?
CYGNUS and DUSK came out on tape and digitally through Doom Trip, originally. We’ve wanted vinyl forever, and after being friends with Jordan [Reyes] through the past couple of years, he expressed interest in working with us by reissuing both albums on vinyl. To me, DUSK is really a vinyl album, so I’m super grateful that Jordan was able to make this happen for us.
Drew – Both albums came out first on Doom Trip as digital and cassette and were then reissued on vinyl by American Dreams, so this is the first vinyl pressing. I personally feel inspired by the other folks on both labels and it’s really an honor to be part of these rosters and we always dreamed of having these come out on vinyl.
What are your goals for 2021 and beyond?
We’re working on a new album now that I’m writing and taking the lead on producing, and Drew is co-producing it with me. I’m kind of trying to move away from the goth trip-hop thing, because I get freaked out whenever it sounds like I’m getting a genre attached to my work. This new work will have none of that. I also have a very exciting collab that I contributed vocals to coming out hopefully later this year that I can’t really say anything about yet.
Drew – 2021 goals for me – mostly focusing on this new album and it’s sounding really cool, kind of a nod to the early Pale Spring stuff. We’ve got some really exciting collaborations coming out this year as well. I’m working on a joint project with Lil Perc the Thot God as well as some stuff with Infinity Knives. Hopefully I’ll find the time to do more mixing and remixing, been thinking of doing a follow up to my solo EP Nocturnes, we’ll see.
Owen Ross – Doumbeck (Infinity Knives RWRK)
Pale Spring – Slow Motion (Eu-IV Remix)
More Eaze & Claire Rousay – Bed
Lil Perc The Thot God – Angel of Death
DoNormaal – Emotional
DeathIRL & Titmouse – List of Demands
They Hate Change – Ozone (Drew Scott Remix)
Cannibal Ox – The F Word Instrumental
Bbymutha – Spooky Mutha Mansion
Backxwash feat Ada Rook – Black Magic
Maral – Let the Distortion Sing
Romeo Diablos – Agua Bendida
Pale Spring – Intact (They Hate Change Remix)
:3lON – Hypersimulation
Charli XCX – Claws (Drew Scott Remix)
Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals – Lucid feat. Pale Spring & Randi Withani
TEK.LUN – Northstar
Drew Scott & Infinity Knives – 4YOUWONTBESAD
MF DOOM – Lemongrass